MEDIA STATEMENT: 18 NOVEMBER 2021
Legislation to stop the convenience killing of healthy animals in NSW pounds passed last night in the NSW Upper House. The Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021 tabled by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst passed with the support of Labor, Greens, Independent Justin Field, Christian Democratic Party, and One Nation. The Bill now has carriage in the Lower House with Independent Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.
The Bill was tabled in response to the shooting of 15 dogs and puppies by Bourke Shire Council earlier this year. These animals were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them in, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders.
Please see comment from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC below:
In NSW, tens of thousands of homeless dogs and cats are killed each year. In 2019-2020, almost 4000 dogs and 8000 cats were killed in NSW pounds. Only a very small percentage of these animals are euthanised because they are so unwell it would be cruel to keep them alive.
In August this year Bourke Shire Pound shot 15 dogs in their care, including a mother dog and her puppies. These animals were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them and find loving homes, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders. Shockingly, it appears the shooting was legal.
This atrocity could have been avoided – our weak laws failed these dogs. But it isn’t just happening at Bourke Shire Council. There are some council pounds that have very high kill rates because they are not working with rescues, for example, one NSW pound euthanised nearly 150 dogs and over 130 cats but released less than 40 animals to rescue groups.
This is convenience killing - the killing of rehomable animals because it is seen as easier, cheaper, or faster than working to rehome the animals directly or through a rehoming organisation.
If the Government accepts these laws in the Lower House, they will mandate pounds to work with rescue groups, and prohibit the killing of animals where a rescue group is willing to take on their care. Killing animals is never the solution.
The shooting of the dogs at Bourke Shire Pound should never have happened - now we need to make sure it never happens again. These legislative changes have the support of the Upper House – the Government is aware that major reforms are needed in this space, and they will now be the deciding vote on whether this legislation becomes law. It will speak volumes about their stance on animal protection if they choose to reject this Bill after it passed in the Upper House.
Convenience killing in pounds and shelters must be outlawed.
The NSW community does not accept the killing of healthy, rehomable animals for the sake of convenience, especially when there are so many people and rescue groups who are eager to give dogs and cats loving homes.
This Bill will stop the convenience killing of healthy, rehomable animals in pounds by making it mandatory for councils to work with rescue groups and allow rescues to rehome animals on death row. Yesterday, the Bill became one step closer to passing into law.
I have consulted with rescue groups and councils about this issue, and all have said we desperately need changes in this space.
This is the first step toward fixing the broken NSW pound system. We will continue to work with the Government on further reforms to build better pound facilities, improve standards of care, properly resource pounds and rescue groups and address the number of homeless animals making their way into pounds in the first place.
BILL AVAILABLE HERE: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/Pages/bill-details.aspx?pk=3905
MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792